How many times have you been at a conference and heard the debate of profit versus altruistic goals of a business? I am tired of this debate--I strongly believe you can have a company with a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
We can all do well by doing good. Make money and make the world a better place. But how do we do this? We need money to make money, to do good, and so on and so forth.
At Circular Board's recent Circular Summit, Dell sponsored a survey of the women entrepreneurs in attendance, and the results reveal that female founders say their top need is capital (44 percent) and expanded networks (16 percent) to accelerate the growth of their business.
At the event, Circular Board CEO Carolyn Rodz said the survey results underscore what the participants in her all-women accelerator tell us: they want to scale their purpose driven companies, and they have the know-how, but the missing rocket fuel is funding.
Digging deeper into the data, other trends for women entrepreneurs were uncovered:
Female Founders Rely on Bootstrapping Over Venture Capital
One-third of the survey respondents currently rely on bootstrapping and close personal networks to fund their business. This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to funding and the female founder community. With women only receiving about 6 percent of venture capital and 19 percent of angel investments, it's safe to assume they are looking to other resources to support operations in the early stages.
This data indicates that there is tremendous opportunity for women entrepreneurs to access more venture capital (easier said than done, I know) and also to tap into online crowdfunding resources. Research from 2014 indicated that women actually outperform their male counterparts in fundraising on Kickstarter.
Women Entrepreneurs Are Confident in Their Leadership Skills
Circular Summit participants most frequently identified leadership skills as their primary personal strength, followed by sales. The people side of business is one of the reasons women make great entrepreneurs and managers, and the survey result reflect self-awareness of excellence in these areas. Emotional intelligence in a startup opens the doors to collaboration, partnerships, high employee satisfaction and even innovation--all of these are important factors in both the short- and long-term success of a company.
Women Entrepreneurs Are Thinking Big
The National Association of Women Business Owners 2015 report shows one in five firms that make $1 million or more is woman-owned, and 4.2 percent of women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more. However, at this particular event, which was curated for top-tier women entrepreneurs, the majority of respondents said they have a goal to scale to $50 million and beyond.
Purpose and Profit Are Linked
Social entrepreneurship is on the rise throughout the globe, and in many cases, women are driving that charge. The Dell-sponsored survey results underscore this trend, with the majority of women stating they want to make an impact and solve problems in addition to profit. This was further highlighted by the event's Pitch With Purpose competition, which was the first-ever pitch competition for women entrepreneurs leading high-growth, scalable business that support achievement of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
Advisory Boards Are an Untapped Resource
Building an advisory board is often cited as one of the most valuable steps for a startup that wants to scale. A group of advisors allows founders to tap into diverse perspectives, expertise and networks, which is invaluable to a nascent business. Based on this data, women entrepreneurs aren't tapping into this important resource--nearly 60 percent of those surveyed do not yet have an advisory board.
We all need to band together and kick our triple bottom line into gear--make money and make the world a better place.